All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon is probably the most perfect fit for the Dodgers to hit free agency in quite a long time. Over and over again the LA offense has come up short in the postseason. The current offense is too left-handed and the defense at third base is slipping. Rendon would immediately change the dynamic on both the offense and defense.
This free agency class that features other players at the top of their game include Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg is excellent and the Dodgers have an opportunity to make a splash. All would fulfill a need and make the Dodgers better. This article will make the case for the Dodgers to sign Anthony Rendon.
We saw what Anthony Rendon can do in the postseason in 2019. He didn’t shrink from the big moments and put together many excellent at bats in contrast to many of the Dodgers. In 138 postseason plate appearances, Rendon has a career slash of .282/.370/.479 (AVG/OBP/SLG).
Let’s take a look at his regular season numbers over the last few years:
Even if we take into account the juiced ball, Rendon is a consistent hitter who would be perfect in either the 2nd or 3rd spot in the batting order. He is durable and should have at least 5 more strong seasons.
I wrote about how the LA infield defense was barely average last season and that the biggest weak spot was third base. Rendon has a history of being a pretty good fielder and he would be an excellent upgrade. From 2014 through 2018 Rendon was the highest rated defensive third baseman according to FanGraphs. He did take a step down in 2019 but was still in the top 10 and he was better than anyone else the Dodgers had at third.
Don't let Anthony Rendon's offense distract you from Anthony Rendon's defense. ? pic.twitter.com/j7wMHk9r1V
— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) April 14, 2019
If Rendon was to be signed then it would greatly impact the infield. Assuming Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Corey Seager and Gavin Lux all come back one of them is left out. One option was discussed recent at Dodgers Nation that involved trying Gavin Lux in the outfield. Personally, I would look to move Max Muncy to left field which frees up Turner for 1B and Lux at 2B. If they move Muncy to left then it would allow them to trade Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock (which would also free up some more money). How about this lineup:
- Alex Verdugo – RF
- Max Muncy – LF
- Anthony Rendon – 3B
- Cody Bellinger – CF
- Justin Turner – 1B
- Corey Seager – SS
- Will Smith – C
- Gavin Lux – 2B
There aren’t any platoons needed with these players. The lineup is an excellent mix of youth and experience with the top 5 batters having good approaches at the plate. The opposing starting pitchers would end up throwing a lot of pitches to those guys.
If the Dodgers try and pull the same thing they did with Bryce Harper they will lose out on him. I truly doubt Rendon goes for a short term, big yearly average contract (and ESPN’s Jeff Passan agrees). The famous quote about what he wants to be doing when he is 36 notwithstanding.
“Hopefully, not playing baseball,” Rendon joked. “Probably sitting on the couch hanging out with my kids. – The Athletic
His agent is Scott Boras and this is his chance to cash in on all of his hard work. Last off-season the Rockies signed Nolan Arenado to an 8 year / $260M contract as he headed into his age 28 season. Anthony Rendon is 29 (he turns 30 in July) and my guess is he beats the annual average value (AAV) of Arenado’s contract of $32.5M. My guess is a an AAV of $35M at 7 years for a total of $245M.
The Dodgers have a projection of having around $40M available before luxury tax penalties would impact them. They clearly can afford an AAV of Anthony Rendon without shedding any further payroll. If they were to add Rendon then they would be able to move someone else from the starting lineup and possibly trade them. There is no rational reason the Dodgers can’t spend big this winter whether it is Rendon or Gerrit Cole.
Andrew Friedman is very high on Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon.
Does that mean the Dodgers will sign them?https://t.co/g2B1Yl8n1K
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) November 7, 2019
Since the front office seems to be so enamored with players like Cole and Rendon then maybe they finally do something big. They have the room and even more contracts expiring over the next few years including Turner, Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw. The case is easy for signing Rendon and Cole wouldn’t be bad either. The bottom line, the Dodgers can make a huge next step with either one of them.
If they sign Rendon, they will upgrade their defense, balance their lineup, have proven postseason player and upgrade the batting order. Let’s do it Dodgers.